Confidence up, policies must keep it that way

11 January, 2017

CCI Chief Economist Rick Newnham is calling on all parties contesting the March state election to commit to confidence-boosting policies for medium-term businesses.

He says this type of policy implementation is imperative for business growth and job creation.

“Business creates jobs, not governments – it is therefore vital the future State Government implements policies that will give the business community the confidence they need to invest in our state,” he says.

His comments come as the CCI’s December quarter Survey of Business Expectations found medium-term business confidence has continued to trend upwards over the past 18 months.

More than half of WA businesses are also expecting economic conditions to either improve or hold steady over the next 12 months.

Newnham says with WA’s unemployment rate standing at the second highest in the country, it’s a good time for political parties to commit to business-friendly policies to keep this confidence high.

“Payroll tax relief in particular would mean small businesses would be able to grow their operations, hire more workers and stimulate the economy.”

The grass is becoming greener

CCI’s latest Outlook report has forecast a continuation of modest growth this year, with this growth driven by exports rather than business investment.

“CCI expects the WA economy to grow by 0.9 per cent in 2016-17 and 2.8 per cent in 2017-18,” Newnham says.

And it looks like there’s more light at the end of the tunnel, with jobs being created in industries like retail trade, professional services and agriculture despite the high unemployment rate.

Newnham says the future State Government must then look at doing everything it can to encourage a business-friendly environment.

“(This) will attract investment and support business confidence, which means minimising taxes on the business community, particularly the crushing payroll tax burden.”